A little soapbox rant on being prepared.
For years, my mom and dad insisted I take part in the Boy Scouts of America program. I didn’t really enjoy my time as a scout unless I was on a campout with my friends or doing some activity like hiking, biking or canoeing. The endless seminars and presentations on environmental science or personal management weren’t for my teenage brain.
Despite my dissatisfaction with the experience as a whole, I did take one thing away from being a scout.
Be Prepared; the motto of the Boy Scout.
For some reason this stuck with me and was something that I still strive for personally and professionally.
For Jose Luis Fernandez, being prepared made him into a rock star. Literally. In the below video, you’ll find 2 individuals, one ready to step up on the stage with The Killers and one who wasn’t. This video happened at recent Killers concert in Mexico City. Brandon Flowers; lead singer calls Jose up to play the drums for their song For Reasons Unknown. What happens next is inspiring.
I don’t know the backstory of how or why this happened, nor do I know what happened to Jose after his performance but I do know that when he was called upon, he was prepared. Jose drops in his seat and kills it. With a little coaching from Ronnie Vannucci and a verbal request from Brandon Flowers to the crowd, to cross their fingers, Jose plays like he had been playing this song on his garage drum set for years. Perhaps everyone had their fingers crossed for Jose but I’d like to believe that he prepared himself to perform at that level.
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to relate this to how you can start your path to becoming a UX designer. As the lead instructor for the UX program at DevMountain, I see many students come through my program with visions of grandeur. Most students prepare themselves by working hard, stepping out of their comfort zone and doing everything asked of them. Others unfortunately coast along, thinking that the badge or certificate at the end of school will magically grant them a high paying, prestigious job at some unicorn company.
Working hard and being prepared as a UX designer, especially a Jr. UX Designer means fighting for every bit of knowledge and experience. It means seeking feedback even when your work is incomplete or your afraid of the feedback that will be given. Being prepared means slogging through writing your case studies. Being prepared means having your portfolio up-to-date with your best work; ready to talk with enthusiasm about your role . Being prepared means being able to outwork 99% of your peers so that when the time comes to interview for that dream job or be assigned to that important project; you increase your chances. This and the million other seemingly tedious activities will prepare you.
As Brandon Flowers sings the following line in, For Reasons Unknown:
With one deep breath, and one big step
I move a little bit closer, I move a little bit closer
I can’t help but think that being prepared will move you a little bit closer to your goals and aspirations.
That Jose was even given a chance to play with the band is amazing and probably worthy of another post for another time. Given that chance though, Jose nailed the performance and now has one of the best concert stories of all time.
What’s your best “concert” story going to be? What are you going to be able to say you did? If you can tell a good story, it’s probably because you were prepared.